Sunday, December 6, 2009

Unique Identification Project Of India Needs A Legal Framework To Be Legitimate

According to experts, Unique Identification Project of India and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAI) cannot be legitimate till there is a “legislative framework” duly supporting it. The same is presently missing in India. Similarly, concerns regarding data protection, privacy issues, cyber security, etc are also there to be addressed. The Parliament has to enact a Techno-Legal Statute in this regard to confer legitimacy to this much needed initiative.

Unique Identification Project (UIP) of India is gaining importance in India. It is also the need of the hour. The only requirement remains is that it must be implemented and enforced properly.

UIP not only requires a good legal support but properly trained manpower as well. The first step would be to formulate suitable policies and laws in this regard. Then we have to train sufficient number of people to manage this ambitious project.

According to Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India and Managing Partner of Perry4Law Unique Identification Project of India is a much needed initiative and its importance cannot be undermined. However, no matter howsoever important a project may be, it must be done both legally and reasonably. If a project is not supported by a good and reasonable law, its importance is overshadowed by its fallacies and possible abuses, says Dalal.

Some issues those have to be resolved before implementing the UIP pertains to data protection, privacy protection, security of the information gathered, data management, etc. Similarly, contractual issues, information sharing and distribution, etc would also arise, opined Dalal.

The challenges before the Unique Identification Authority of India are numerous and manifold. It has already started gathering public opinions and inputs in this regard. Similarly, various stakeholders have also been consulted in this regard. This is the correct approach as a broader public acceptance can be obtained in this manner, says Dalal.

There are no hints of any legislation making pertaining to UIP and UIAI in the current winter session of the Parliament. Perhaps the government of India needs more time before making an important law in this much needed direction.


Judicial Reforms In India Are Urgently Required

India is in emergent need to adopt judicial reform as public trust and confidence in Indian judiciary is at its nadir. E-Courts have the potential to remove the mammoth backlog of cases existing in India but India does not have expert individuals and firms to implement this ambitious project. There is an emergent need to not only bring transparency and fairness in the judicial dealings in India but also to train and make the judicial officers more competent and up to date. It is high time to do something lest people of India loose their faith in Indian judiciary absolutely.

A blue print of the National Mission for Delivery of Justice and Legal Reforms (NMDJLR) has been recently released by the Law Minister M Veerappa Moily. Judicial reforms in India have become the pressing need of the hour. This is so because the huge backlog of cases is increasing on the one hand and the efficiency of the courts is decreasing on the other. This is happening because the numbers of judicial officers are much shorter than the required strength. If there is not an urgent, immediate and holistic judicial reforms drive in India, the judicial system of India is going to collapse.

E-Courts in India have tremendous potential to reduce the backlog of cases. However, establishment and implementation of e-courts requires techno-legal expertise that is presently missing in India. As a result e-courts projects in India always failed from time to time.

Fortunately, the NMDJLR Plan has many good suggestion that if implemented would be very beneficial for the judicial and legal reforms in India. The problem seems to be lack of “techno-legal expertise” in this regard. India has been evading establishing e-courts since 2003. Even today we come across various media reports claiming establishment of e-courts in India. The mechanism of e-courts facilitates the filing of applications, arguments through the electronic mode, submission of documents and evidence using ICT, etc. Till now none of the essential features of e-courts have been utilised in India.

The NMDJLR Plan has appreciated some of the prerequisites of e-courts and mentioned them in its document. They have to be complied with if we have to establish real and effective e-courts in India. Only time will tell whether the NMDJLR Plan would die in the absence of political will and techno-legal expertise or the government of India would actively use the techno-legal services of world renowned firms like Perry4Law to accomplish it.


E-Judiciary In India Must Be Established Now

E-courts in India or e-judiciary in India has been in media corners since 2003. However, till now India does not have even a single e-court. While India is busy in press releases claiming opening of e-courts other countries are actually implementing the required measures in this direction. One such court is the Georgia Court of Appeal.

Although e-filing has not yet reached the Georgia Supreme Court, the Georgia Court of Appeals announced yesterday the creation of its EFAST system, which allows members of the Georgia Bar to file briefs electronically. Registration and other information about the new program is available at the Court of Appeals’ website. The impressive aspect about this announcement is the “ability” to file cases electronically.

According to Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India and Managing Partner of Perry4Law no court can claim itself to be an e-court till cases are filed, processed and adjudicated electronically. Without these crucial capabilities, the other measures are just attempts to “computerise” the court’s traditional and ancillary functions, says Dalal.

Now it is abundantly clear that India has in the past claimed opening of many e-courts but till now not even a single case has been delat with electronically. This is because there is no e-court hence there cannot be any disposal of the same electronically.

The Delhi High Court has declared that it is going to open an e-court on 8th December, 2009. It would be interesting to see whether the same would be “another e-court” as claimed to be opened earlier or would it be a real one?